EU threatens to cut funding for Poland over anti-LGBT+ discrimination

The EU has threatened to cut pandemic funds for Poland due to its ruling party's very strong anti-LGBT+ stance and policies.

Poland anti-LGBT+
Image: AP

The European Union warned Poland that it may cut its pandemic relief funding due to the anti-LGBT+ discrimination currently playing out in the country.

Last weekend, Polish President Andrzej Duda said he wished to enshrine marriage as between a man and a woman in the Polish constitution and prevent LGBT+ couples from adopting.

Duda – who is up for reelection – has ramped up his attack and even went so far as to say: “LGBT is not people, it’s an ideology.” This also comes after five Polish governors declared their towns to be “LGBT+ free zones”.

A recent letter from the European Commission seen by the EUobserver shows that many in the EU are not happy about the recent actions of Poland’s governing PiS (Law and Justice) party.

The letter states that the EU should take into consideration the “assessment of the risk of discrimination” when deciding where to allocate new funds for countering the coronavirus’ impact in Poland. It also asked governors to bring in “measures promoting equality and non-discrimination” and to provide written statements as to what they would do.

Two top officials, Joost Korte and Marc Lemaître, signed the letter. They mentioned an EU law which states that member states have an obligation to protect minorities.

“While at the same time they [Polish governors] are using EU funds … these actions [LGBT+ free zones] result in citizens’ fear of being discriminated by these authorities, or being beaten by other citizens, or losing jobs,” Korte and Lemaître said.

This letter comes only a day after an LGBT+ activist met with the president of Poland about his recent anti-LGBT+ comments. The activist ended up leaving the meeting without even saying goodbye as Duda defended his statements on the basis of free speech.

Many angry protesters interrupted him on Monday during one of his campaign stops, leading him to invite several LGBT+ activists to discuss the matter further with him. Robert Biedron, who is also running for president and is gay himself, was also invited.

However, all but one activist turned down Duda’s offer. Biedron and his mother said he wouldn’t go unless Duda made a public apology for his comments.

For now, it is unclear if the EU’s threat will change much, as PiS chairman Jarosław Kaczyński already holds a pretty anti-European vision for Poland. According to filmmaker Bartosz Staszewski, the chairman: “used us [LGBT+ people] as public enemy number one for the parliament elections.”

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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